Thursday, August 27, 2015

Where I'm at: work

As I continue this series of posts on "where I'm at" (running, church, and coaching), today I come to: work. I am employed by a self-storage company in Fort Wayne as a facility manager. I work around 40 hours a week. Most of the time it is Monday through Friday, with an occasional Saturday thrown in. It isn't difficult work, and I kind of like that it's a good mix of office stuff, public interaction, and some light manual labor. It is one of the premier facilities in Fort Wayne - with around 750 storage units - so sometimes it is fairly busy, but it's not overly challenging. It usually offers me plenty of time to write blog posts, read, and think.

On the one hand it is nice to be able to work on other things while I'm "at work." However, there are times when it's just not very fulfilling. There really isn't any future in it for me, which is fine, but one of the more frustrating aspects is that I think I could contribute more, but it's not welcomed or encouraged. So... I'm just trying to take it for what it is. They gave me a job when no one else would. For that I am thankful.

Sometimes I dream about starting up a business, or Jane and I starting something together. I have no idea what it would be though. There are also times I wonder if I should get something a little higher-paying and try to make as much money as I can over the next 10-12 years and plan for retirement. I do look for other jobs now and then, but it's always hard to know what to do or how to go about it.

In the meantime, I just show up at work every day. I like being able to work alone for the most part. I'm sort of the "old guy," and I get the feeling I drive other people a little nuts sometimes. When I started here it seemed all the managers and other employees joked around a lot more, and I feel like I've kind of put a damper on that, you know, because I'm always so serious and intense about everything. Plus the guy who I guess is supposed to be the boss is like a complete opposite of me, so... I don't know how long it will last, but until something else comes along... this is what I do. It's not terrible.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Where I'm at: coaching

For the 3rd in this series of "where I'm at" posts, today I will talk about the coaching business I'm involved with. If someone might happen to be reading here, yes, I am a certified Christian leadership coach. I took my first class in November of 2013, and received my initial certification in December 2014. A good friend and I started a coaching partnership, called Elevate Coach, in April of 2015.

As far as the business itself, well, lets just say we're not ready to quit our day jobs. Personally, I haven't had any paying clients yet. I "trade" coaching with my partner once a week, which is good practice, and helpful to me personally, but it's a little disappointing that I haven't done much else with it. Of course I've no one to blame but myself. I haven't exactly been searching for clients very hard.

So far I have been continuing to take advantage of the free webinars and events hosted by Coach Approach Ministries (who certified me), as well as reading books and literature on leadership and life coaching. It is still something I believe in, and quite honestly, I really enjoy doing. I guess I mostly just lack confidence in myself as a coach, which is likely a result of my lack of experience.

I suppose I need to simply be more intentional about thinking like a coach, practicing it as part of my regular life, and then worry about paying clients after that. The biggest reason I need paying clients is so I can count those hours towards a higher level of certification, as well as trying to justify the cost of continuing education. However, maybe I need to let those things take care of themselves.

So, in a nutshell, the coaching business has been slow in getting going, but it's not over. I am still moving in that direction. I may never do this as a "job," but I definitely still see it as a worthwhile endeavor, and enjoy doing it. I need to give myself a kick in the rear and work at getting some clients, and I am also thinking of signing up for 'the coaching connection' in November. It would give me 40 hours of paid coaching, plus experience at both doing and receiving coaching from some different people. So I may do that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Where I'm at: church

For day 2 in this series of posts on "where I'm at," I will put down some thoughts on church. This is a difficult one to assess, and I'm also a little leery of publicly divulging too much for fear of being misunderstood. But, you know me, so here goes.

We are currently involved in our church in regular Sunday morning attendance, we are greeters once a month, and we have recently begun participating in a weekly home group. We really like the couple who host the home group, and have actually started to develop some relationships with a few others in the church. Oddly enough we have been feeling a little less than thrilled with the overall "feel" of the church lately though - and it has nothing at all to do with the people we've gotten to know better.

Jane has always struggled with fitting into a larger church. While I don't have quite the same difficulty, it does have its challenges. However, there just seems to be this "vibe" that we've been feeling develop lately. There seems to be this 'rah-rah' atmosphere, and in spite of the supposed 3dm "missional" mindset espoused, there is a real old-school evangelical feel to everything. It also seems a lot of ministry is "popularity driven," which is not only a real turn-off to us, but I also believe is very church-centric rather than kingdom-centric. There doesn't seem to be much of a "least of these" concern, but more of an elitist attitude. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but I don't much care for it.

Fortunately Jane and I are also involved in a weekly Bible Study with a couple who lead a totally different type of church. We feel much more in tune with these people, but we are also not sure we could go back to a church so similar to the one we used to be in (as far as size, culture and location).

This leaves us feeling we are in about the same place we've been in for over 2 years now. We are somewhat homeless as far as church goes. We tossed around giving C2G another try, or even Fellowship Missionary. C2G seems to be more our kind of people, but it is also a bit odd at the same time. Fellowship is very close to our house, and we've rubbed shoulders with a couple of leaders there who seem like-minded, but it's even larger than Grace. They would at least have some ministry opportunities geared more towards our neck of the woods, but...

I wish we could find a small group of people (a church of under 100) that were somewhat similar to us, and where we could contribute. Not a "churchy" church, but people who really wanted to follow Jesus. I mean, I know there has to be such a place. Doesn't there?? Shoot, we were in a church back home a few weeks ago, and we easily could have helped out leading worship there, if not in other ways. There have got to be places around here like that. I'm not sure how to find them though.

So, that's where we are. I don't really know where it is, and it's not much fun, but... I guess it's a part of the journey.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Where I'm at: running

I had an idea this morning to write several "Where I'm At" posts in regard to different areas of my life. Four areas I thought of included: running, church, coaching, and work. We'll see how it goes, but I will at least write down some thoughts today in regard to running. This is kind of 'where I am' at this time in my life, and this summer, and maybe where I would like to go from here.

I am currently running about 4 days-per-week. I feel like I've actually just started doing it on a regular basis though. I do between 3-6 miles 3 days, and a longer run on the 4th. I am a little behind the pace I would like to be at. Ideally I would like to be doing 4-6 miles 4 times per week, and a longer run on the 5th day. My longest run this summer was the 8 miles I did this past Saturday. I followed it with a mile+ walk, and then mowed the lawn afterward. I felt pretty good after it, but this morning I had to do a really slow 3.5 miles.

Part of my problem has been inconsistency. I just haven't been making it a priority. Therefore I haven't been able to go very fast. I am running at between a 10 and 11-minute-mile pace right now. I'd like to get to at least a 9-minute-mile pace by October.

The good news, though, is that my feet and legs feel pretty good. I think in previous years I probably over-trained a little too early. As I get older I am very cautious in my efforts to avoid injury. It just takes too long to heal as an older runner. So I am running slower, with a shorter stride, and trying to keep the impact on my feet, knees, and back to an absolute minimum. My goal is to run as smooth, quiet, and effortless as possible. That's easier said than done, but it's what I'm shooting for.

One thing I'm thinking of doing is, instead of working TOWARDS the Fort-4-Fitness as the pinnacle point of the year, I may shoot for the Veteran's Day Marathon on Nov. 14, and just use the F4F half as part of my training. I still dream of doing a full marathon, but I want to be able to do it around 4 hours if possible. I am not there right now, but it's doable. It may also be something that I just can't do. I dunno.

I came across this article in Runners World on how far a person should run to train for 5k's, 10k's, half's, and full marathons. I liked the line, "A healthy runner beats an injured runner every time." True. They also suggested that training for a half marathon should include 30-40 miles per week, whereas a full marathon is only 30-50. So... who knows.

Anyway, that's where I am, and where I'd like to go. One other thing for future consideration is to continue running year-round. I might consider joining the Y so I could run on an indoor track, instead of a treadmill, in winter. Although it might be better to concentrate more on core workouts during the winter and just leave the running to outdoor months. We'll see.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I read a book - scary close

I read an entire book in less than a week. It seems like it's been a long time since I've done that. I started Donald Millers' 'Scary Close' on Monday, and finished it Thursday. I did all of the reading at work. Thursday was a glorious day - I only had a handful of phone calls and customers come in. I can't believe I just used the word "glorious" in a sentence though...

Anyway, it was a good book. It was just over 200 pages, and the print was nice and big and spread well on the page. It was a very easy read. I did seem to underline a lot more at the beginning of the book than the end, but in general it was... nice. Probably not some of Don's best work, but it certainly wasn't a waste of time.

I wrote a couple posts earlier this week about it. I may or may not include another with some of the quotes I underlined. Mostly, though, I was just glad it felt good to read again. It seems I haven't really enjoyed it much lately. I think I've discovered that maybe I'm tired of "how-to" books. You know, the coaching books, and church type stuff... I don't know. It was nice to just read some stories.

So... I did that.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A movie and a coaching webinar

Two things I did this week:

Jane and I saw the movie Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation Wednesday night. We hadn't been to a theater in some time, and just felt like doing something different. I have liked the MI movies - I'm kind of an "action movie" guy. This one didn't suck, but it wasn't as good as the previous ones in my opinion. It helped that a friend was working the counter and we got in free though. And, I kind of forgot until now, for a new movie, there was just us and one other couple in the theater for a 7:20 pm movie. Hmm...

On Thursday I watched another Coach Approach Ministries free webinar while I was at work. I only had a couple phone calls during the hour-long event, so I was happy about that. This one was called "This Is Your Brain On God." It was about how coaching, brain science, and faith development overlap. It was taught by Chad Hall, Jane Creswell, and Brian Miller. I thought it was pretty good. And this was the first one where I was able to see a video of the presenters, as well as their slides.

One thing I thought interesting was the discussion on neurotransmitters in the brain. There are these things called oxytocin and cortisol, and they sort of need to "talk" to one another to transmit things in our brain. We want a higher level of oxytocin, because (I think) these send the transmissions, so the more we have, the better. The more safe and secure we feel, the more we are encouraged, the more oxytocin works to send signals. Cortisol, on the other hand, receives the signals. However, the more we have of it, the more it BLOCKS the signals. So we want less cortisol. The higher the stress level we have, the more cortisol we have, and the less open we are to hearing and learning. So... I took the point to be - For good coaching (or learning/discussion/teaching/whatever) we need to do our best to create a positive, encouraging environment between us and the person we're talking to. If people don't feel safe or accepted, they're not going to be open to what you have to say, they're not going to be as likely to "think" freely, and they won't be open in sharing with you. Interestingly enough, when we are encouraging of others, it makes our own brain better too (higher oxytocin; lower cortisol).

Another thing I thought interesting was the idea that our brain processes "test" questions differently than "discovery" questions. If someone is asking you for mere information, your brain is going to work differently than if you are having to put ideas and things together. It can just go get a test question and retrieve it, but a discovery question will require a little more thought. However, through that thinking process, it will access other areas of information, and the linking of these areas together stimulates greater thinking, the culmination of which results in an "aha!" moment. That's like when a bunch of things lined up in your brain and a 'discovery' was made. And this is what coaching sessions are to be about. The coaching session is a discovery process. The coaches role is to get you thinking so you can make discoveries that will help you learn and grow.

Anyway, it was a decent movie, and a very good webinar.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Who's driving?

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been wrestling with a lot of stuff going on inside my mind/heart. It's been good, actually. Reading Miller's 'Scary Close' has brought some things to mind, and also forced me to face some things about myself I'd been trying to neglect. So, all told, I felt a sense of relief and freedom yesterday. I am always amazed how sometimes just writing something out can do that. Not that it works for everybody, or that everyone necessarily has things they need to work out, but it works for me.

So, in keeping with yesterday's reading from Miller's book, Don talks about the story we live by. Everyone has a story, or at least should. He says that what often happens is we live the story written by our 'false self' - the one trying to compensate for our shame and pain - and we overlook (or fail to recognize) our 'real' story.

This reminded me of something my counselor explained to me a couple years ago. I'm just going to re-post what I wrote on March 21, 2013...
I was recently told to imagine the brain as though it were a tiny car inside your head with 3 people in it. 
The ADULT is the one driving the car. This is the person who controls behavior and ultimately determines where you go - they hold the steering wheel.
The PARENT sits in the passenger seat, and is sort of the navigator. They hold the map. It is good to have them there to give you boundaries and direction, however, depending on how things go they can also be a source of guilt and shame.
The CHILD sits in the back seat. As long as everything is going smoothly up front, the child stays pretty quiet and doesn't cause any problems. Once the child senses something is amiss though, they can start to act up. The child wants everyone to get along, and they also want to do things that make them feel good. So they are not the best guide. They want pleasure without parameters.
When people are operating normally the adult drives along with the contented parent and child there with them. When the adult starts to question things, or can't make a decision, or doesn't know what to do, the parent and child will start to speak up and try to give their input. When the adult gives in to the inner parent or inner child is when bad decisions (and behavior) come into play.
There is also a part of the brain that controls the insula (or something like that). This is where the "gut feeling" that we can get comes from. This "gut" part of the brain is likened to our GPS system. This is really where we want to go. The challenge is getting ourselves in tune with this and listening to it rather than the parent or the child. In other words, you could think of this as the "walk by faith and not by sight" aspect. Or, perhaps think of this as where the Holy Spirit resides (in the Christian).
So our goal is to get the driver of our car to follow the "gut" part of our mind. This is when we find inner peace and contentment.
That makes sense to me. Letting the "adult" drive the car is the same as living my life based on the story of my real self, instead of my false self. I am no longer "little Danny Horwedel," but am now a capable adult. While it's true that "things" have happened to me, they do not have to define me. Everyone has "stuff." Our shame might be our own fault or it may have been caused by someone else. It doesn't really matter who's to blame. What matters is how we're going to react to it or what we're going to do with our life AFTER.

Honestly, I don't blame anyone for any hurt they may have caused to me. We're all human. I have hurt many people myself. And it's not that there aren't consequences for our actions, but to live as a victim is to live from the wrong, false story of our lives.

That's what I think right now anyway. Who knows. Just writing stuff down as it comes to mind.

It's a new day...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Searching for my self

I read another 50 or so pages from Donald Miller's 'Scary Close' yesterday. Man... it turned into an awful day.

I've discovered something that I've probably always known: I don't like myself very much. I'm not a fan at all. Which means I also have a hard time believing anyone else likes me. I think most people either tolerate me, or at best, they feel sorry for me. I think people willing to spend time with me probably dread every second of it, and when they're done they feel this big load of relief and consider their random acts of kindness quota filled for a good long while.

It was actually the day I started Don's book that I read about the 3 circles. I'm just going to put what he wrote on pp. 19-21, and then I'll include a photo of the circles (as I drew them). He's talking about meeting with this guy named Bill...
He pulled a napkin from the table and drew a small circle on it. Inside the circle he wrote the word self and explained everybody is born a self. He said I was born this way and so was everybody else, a completely healthy and happy little self. And then, he said, something happened in my life that changed everything.

He drew a larger circle around the small circle, making something like a target. Inside the second circle he wrote the word shame. Bill said at some point I realized, whether true or not, there was something wrong with me. Either I didn't measure up to the standards of my parents, the kids at school made fun of me, or I came to believe I was inferior. Shame, he said, caused me to hide. "And that," he said, "is a problem. Because the more we hide, the harder it is to be known. And we have to be known to connect."

Then he drew another circle around the second one and said this outer circle was the false self we create to cover our shame. He said it was in this circle where we likely developed what we think of as our personality, or the "character" we learned to play in the theater of life. Bill said some of us learn we only matter if we are attractive or powerful or skilled in some way, but each of us likely has an ace card we believe will make us loveable...

...I was a self, covered in shame and hiding behind an act...

Bill pointed at the center circle, at the word self, and said, "This guy, your inner self, is the part of you that gives and receives love. The outer rings are just theater."

So (it's me again), this is my problem. The reason I don't like myself is because I'm not sure I know who my 'self' is. I only know the person who's tried to act smart, and funny, and sarcastic. It's really my false self that I don't like.

I can remember some of the places I picked up shame. Shoot, I was abused by some neighbor kids before I was even in school. I never really thought it was anything serious. I remember being called "shy" and "little Danny Horwedel" for most of my growing-up years. I tend to remember my football "career" as - my junior year I was the quarterback for the first 4 games, until I threatened to quit after the game in which I had 6 fumbles (so they moved me to receiver); and my senior year when I was the featured tailback, until after the first game and they scrapped our entire system and instituted the wishbone offense (with 3 backs) for the rest of the season. I always ended up letting people down. I couldn't stand up to the pressure. I couldn't be depended on. Not to mention the fact that everyone hates the principals kid (yes, my dad was my high school principal).

I know there are people who wonder why I took getting let go from my church so hard. You know, "It happens all the time." "Why are you letting it bother you so much?" "Why can't you get over it?" Well, that's why. I was overcome with the shame of not being good enough; not able to be depended on; of breaking under pressure; of letting people down. I was a "little Danny Horwedel," and might as well have been sinking into the corner of the neighbors shed out back with my crew cut and Keds.

It's a very humbling process I'm going through right now. I realize I am making myself very vulnerable here, perhaps letting loose some info that some of you may never have known (and maybe didn't want to know). But I just can't seem to find my self yet. I am stuck at 'little Danny Horwedel.' I can only seem to see myself as that little boy...

And, as I write this, I realize it wasn't my fault.

I was a good boy.

And here I sit at work, sobbing at my desk.

I think that's enough for today.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A new book

I started reading a new book yesterday: Scary Close by Donald Miller. Jane already read it, and it seemed to keep staring at me from across the room. After diving into the first 50 pages or so on the first day, now I know why. This appears to be a book I need to read right now.

So far it seems to be about how to learn to be our true selves, as opposed to the selves we show the world in our attempts to hide our shame and earn love. Man, already I've been beat upside the head. I've always considered myself to be a pretty open and vulnerable guy. Apparently I'm pretty open about certain parts of me, but I have a long, long way to go.

I have already underlined much, but I'll just share this one phrase to start:
"I began to wonder what life would be like if I dropped the act and began to trust that being myself would be enough to get the love I needed."
Ugh... that right there could be the underlying question I've been seeking/avoiding for all my 52 years...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Not feeling good

I'm not feeling so well today. Nothing serious (I don't think). I can't really even pinpoint the issue. Just a general rottenness.

I felt fine when I got up. I had 2 cups of coffee, fried an egg, and then went for a run. I started feeling crappy during the run. I wasn't going hard or anything, but the further I ran, the worse I got. I did just over 4 miles, came home and took a shower, and just continued to feel worse. I thought I was going to throw up, and I just kept sweating. It was almost like I was really drunk - you know, that point where it's not fun anymore. But I wasn't drunk!

Anyway, I have been taking it easy at work and am not feeling any worse. Hopefully it's just some kind of temporary bug.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Did country music create donald trump?

(I have no idea who the other guy is)
Okay, this is sort of an off topic random thing - even for my blog... But m'Lady and I attended one of our favorite Friday evening locale's last night, and where they usually have some kind of live music to groove too - be it rock, blues, jazz, reggae, or something along those lines - last night they had COUNTRY music! And, to be fair, there are some kinds of country music I like. I like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, the Eagles did country... there's plenty of good "country-ish" music out there. However, I do NOT care for that twangy "commercial country" stuff. That's what it was last night. Ugh. It was offensive to my ears; an assault on my intelligence; it was simply too painful to be anywhere near. It fouled the very air we were trying to breathe.

We tolerated the opening band, thinking maybe the headliner would make up for it. We stayed for one song and we were outta there! This was not going to be a salvageable experience.

So... as we walked around downtown - or maybe it was while we were still sitting through the torturous obligatory listen - it occurred to me that...

I believe this type of country music is to blame for things like Donald Trump.

I'm sorry, but it makes you feel stupid! I know, this is probably very offensive to some people, but how else can you explain someone like 'The Donald' having the popularity he has? It's the dumbing down of America, and I don't know if country music created it, or just contributed to it... heck, maybe it's a result of it. I don't know, but I don't like it.

So, there, I've written something really rotten and offensive to start off my Saturday. Ugh, it was just an awful experience though. I need to go wash my ears out with soap.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A random friday thing

I remember, once upon a time, when I used to post "Five Things Friday." It was just 5 random things. If I were more serious about this I should probably do more things like that. But...... Anyway, these are just some random things I have on my mind this morning.

Yesterday one of my customers came in to tell me she wasn't going to be able to pay her bill. She is a student, and has been a tenant here off and on for years. I appreciated the honesty and told her I would work with her as best I could. She asked to use the restroom (as she almost always does when she comes in), and hung around and talked for awhile (as she almost always does when she comes in), and then she started telling me a little about her life. She has been sleeping in her car. At one point she just stopped and asked me point blank, "Do you know of any women's shelters where I could go?" I responded, "Actually, I do." Jane and I used to volunteer at a women's shelter in town, so I looked up the info online and printed it off for her. We chatted some more, and I'm really hoping she sought help there.

After work last night I went to one of the small groups we meet with. Thursday nights we meet in the home of some people from church, and there can be anywhere from 10-20 (so far) people there to eat, share and pray together. A new family was there last night, and the husband/father is actually a new staff member at church. We chatted a little, and I found out that he is good friends with a guy that was in a coaching huddle I was briefly in a couple years ago. We thought that was funny. But then... I went home and looked up my blog post from those days, and it turns out the guy that was there last night was in the same huddle!!! We had both totally forgotten. Ha! Not sure what that says about either of us, but I thought that was funny.

Thursdays are also the day I meet some pastor friends for breakfast. There has been a new one there the past couple weeks. He's the new pastor at the Methodist church. Seems like a nice guy, but you can tell he's been doing it for a long time. 30+ years.

I started taking some new vitamins this week. They are a men's formula, and are supposed to help with metabolism. I suppose they have some caffeine in them, and they have given me some energy, but I have to watch myself. It seems whenever I get too much energy I talk to much, and then I say things I shouldn't, and I just kind of lose control. Bad things tend to happen when I get like that. We'll see.

I have been trying to up my running lately. I would still just like to run 4 days a week, and maybe do 3 miles one day, 4 or so one day, 5 or more one day, and then a longer run on the fourth day. This morning I did 5 1/2 miles in about an hour. My speed is pretty slow, but my legs and feet are feeling really good right now, so I hate to push it too much. I would still really like to do a marathon, but I'm just not sure it's going to happen again this year. I am going to do the half at the end of September, and I'll use that as a gauge. The marathon I would run is in November.

Well, I suppose I should get busy. I am at work, but I decided to sit down and blog before I got distracted today. It seems most days I intend to blog at work, and then I get to doing stuff, and it just never happens. Overall, I'm feeling pretty good about things right now. Imagine that.